TEENAGER Connor Wickham fired a hat-trick as Ipswich tore apart shambolic Doncaster with a 6-0 victory in the npower Championship.
Sam Hird had opened the scoring at the Keepmoat Stadium by heading into his own net after 25 minutes, and another misjudged aerial clearance from the same player allowed Lee Martin to tee up former Sunderland midfielder Colin Healy for his first Ipswich goal.
Seventeen-year-old Wickham netted either side of the interval and Gareth McAuley marked his 100th league appearance for Ipswich with a goal, before Wickham completed his treble from the spot in the final minute.
Preston's already slim hopes of survival took a major blow as they threw away a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 at Watford.
Captain Sean St Ledger took just 40 seconds to put North End ahead and Leon Clarke doubled the lead before half-time to put manager Phil Brown in position to pick up his first win at the helm.
But Watford substitutes Matt Whichelow and Adam Thompson replied after the break to leave the Lilywhites staring relegation in the face and without a win since December 11.
Cardiff missed the chance to cut QPR's lead to three points at the top of the table, as they were held 1-1 at home by Burnley.
Michael Chopra had fired the Bluebirds into the lead but former Cardiff striker Steven Thompson came off the bench to level and boost the Clarets' play-off hopes.
Daniel Bogdanovic's 88th-minute penalty rescued a point for Sheffield United as the Blades claimed a draw with Reading at Bramall Lane.
Shane Long looked like he had given the visitors all three points before substitute Bogdanovic was brought down by Andy Griffin in the area and got up to convert the spot-kick.